Massage Choices

Massage Glossary


The practice of using essential oils to facilitate a change in the overall health or specific condition of a person. Aromatherapy uses oils, derived from plants and blended together in predetermined combinations to bring about a healing response. The oil is then used in bath solutions, diffusers, candles, and most effectively massage oils to bring about its medicinal effects. While certain massage protocols have been established which have the most impact while using the oils, in most cases, a Swedish style massage is often utilized. The term Aromatherapy is often used by a spa or massage therapist to indicate a service in which the knowledge and use of essential oils is combined with massage for increased relaxation and specific healing.


An acronym for "continuing education unit". One hour of a continuing education course. A minimum amount (usually around 24) are required annually or bi-annually for the renewal of a massage license in most states that require a license or certification to practice massage.


An acronym for Certified Massage Therapist. See LMT.


Any condition for which massage is not suitable. This can be a general or systemic condition, such as fever or uncontrolled high blood pressure, which pertains to the whole body; in which case you should not receive any massage. It can also be a local condition, such as a varicose vein or rash, for which the massage can be modified to avoid the condition.

Deep Tissue

Commonly used to describe a type of massage where the effects penetrate below the surface tissue layers down unto the deeper layers of connective tissue, muscle, and joint structures. Usually associated with a massage using Swedish techniques with higher degrees of pressure and a greater concentration placed upon muscular issues. Any group of techniques utilized to apply deeper pressure.

Equine Massage

A style of massage performed on horses. Can sometimes be used to refer to a therapist who performs massage on animals in general.


Massage industry term signifying a therapist who offers massage at his/her private location. For spas, sports rehabilitation clinics, massage schools, chiropractor's offices, or yoga studios the term incall is inferred. Most states which require licensure for therapists to practice massage will also require an additional massage establishment license, if a therapist uses his own location for regular massage services.


An acronym for Licensed Massage Therapist with a similar meaning to CMT or RMT. Denotes a Therapist that has been licensed by the accreditation board for massage in the state where he/she is practicing. In most states a therapist must be licensed or certified in order to be able to perform massage legally for profit.


A synonym for "massage style" and is characterized by the main techniques and approach utilized in the work. There are many different modalities or massage styles. Examples include Swedish, Reflexology, Thai Massage and Shiatsu.


National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. An Organization that got in on the ground floor during the early days of the massage movement in America and became the principle means through which massage therapists are currently certified. In most states the NCBTMB exam is the licensing or certification exam used to determine licensure status. In those states that use the NCBTMB exam any therapist becoming licensed or certified is also automatically nationally certified.


Massage industry term signifying a therapist, spa, massage school or company that performs event based chair massage. This term is often times confused with incall/at-home massage, but actually means the opposite. Sometimes referred to simply as chair massage because a portable chair is usually the equipment used for the massage. Draping is not required because a recipient normally has the treatment while sitting fully clothed on the massage chair.


Massage industry term signifying a therapist who offers massage at the client's location. Also known as at-home and mobile massage, the terms are used interchangeably. A therapist who travels to the client and may not have his/her own office location. Many spas also offer outcall massage services.


A type of massage which originated in Asia and is performed exclusively on the hands and feet.


An acronym for Registered Massage Therapist. See LMT.